Prayer benefits us in many ways. Beginning the day with a prayer puts us in a positive and peaceful frame of mind. It fortifies our self-confidence and generates new energy and, in the process, equips us mentally and emotionally to face the daily ordeals of life. When you sit in prayer, your mind is filled with soothing, moral and spiritual thoughts. That makes it a self-purifying, self-improving and spiritually enriching experience. Each day after you have said your prayer, you feel that as a human being, you have become a little better than before.
True prayer is not burdened with rituals. It is not necessary even to go to a place of worship to pray. God is everywhere. Any spot in the house where you sit every morning and pray becomes sanctified and hallowed. It becomes a temple. Not only can you do away with ritual, you don’t even need a particular script. In fact, you can make your own prayer in your own words and language which you understand. As for God, He understands every language. He understands even an unspoken prayer, a prayer said in the language of silence.
In a prayer what matters most is the sincerity of our words, the purity of thoughts and intensity of our feelings. In prayer your whole being seems to strive to reach out to God. You can reach out to Him only when you pray with faith. As Horne says, “Prayer is the voice of faith”.
Kabir says that we pray when we are in pain. We never pray in happy circumstances. Maybe if we prayed in happy times as well, we might reduce our share of pain and suffering. However, prayer does not guarantee that we shall not undergo any suffering or pass through adverse circumstances. Expecting that would amount to the negation of the very essence of life. But prayer makes misery and suffering bearable. So prayer gains special significance (and it is perhaps most needed) when we are passing through trying times like when we are suffering from an illness or when we find ourselves in the midst of a tragedy. It is at these times in life that it helps us most. It puts us in a positive frame of mind, revives hope and saves us from slipping into depression. It gives us courage and develops in us the ability and the right temperament to face the vicissitudes of life.
Prayer is a great source of psychic energy and has immense therapeutic value. Those who pray are less prone to stress. Prayer does not affect only the person who prays. It affects the entire moral environment in which he lives. The thoughts of peace, goodwill and contentment emanating from the mind, send out waves all round and purify the environs.
If we think peace, there will be peace in the world. If there is violence in the world today, it is because we mostly think violence. Misguided thoughts develop misguided, wrong, negative attitudes in people. When you pray for peace, you get peace. You get peace of mind. An old physician advised his patient to have positive thoughts. “Understand the power of your thoughts”, he said. “If you think you are sick, you will become sick”. Think of this when you pray. Your prayer is not just your thoughts. It carries your ‘strongest’ thoughts.